Welcome to another edition of Over/Under Movies, the podcast in which we choose one overrated film and one underrated film — similar in tone, genre, style, or however we may see fit — and we discuss them.
On this episode, I’m joined by my co-host Oktay Ege Kozak to take a look at two dark comedies that deal with death in vastly different ways. We start with Frank Oz‘s 2007 farce “Death at a Funeral,” which, admittedly, on the surface is a bit of a strange choice as an “overrated.” The film was a decent worldwide hit in 2007 and garnered solid-but-not-spectacular reviews, but in the ten years since its release, it seems to find a spot on many of “Best Dark Comedies” lists. We discuss how the jokes in the film could be moved to a wedding or a bachelor party setting and wouldn’t make much of a difference, and that it merely gets by on the taboo nature of being set at a funeral. We also briefly touch on the 2010 Neil LaBute-directed remake, who ironically could have delivered on the dark promise of the premise in his heyday, but instead, the film is just as broad as its predecessor.
We then pivot over to Paul Bartel‘s 1982 satire “Eating Raoul,” a culture-clash, Reagan-era sendup about a milquetoast couple (Bartel and Mary Woronov) who start a dominatrix business to lure in predatory men, kill them, and rob them in order to fund their dreams of owning a restaurant. We talk about how this proudly unsubtle and absolutely hilarious live-action cartoon is both of its time, but also holds up in a society where people will justify their actions by the self-proclaimed “good-nature” of their endgame, regardless of the events that take place on said path.
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You’re right about Death at a Funeral. It’s not overrated in the sense that Avatar is overrated by any stretch of the imagination but if you mention it one or two people will have seen it and they’ll say it’s really good when it’s not at all. The jokes are laboured despite not being funny in the first place. Poor old Peter Vaughan, having to play the sweary old person (which was an old joke back then, now is unbearable). Even though the American remake is not quite a good film, it’s still ahead of the British version (p.s. I am British).